HP buys database archiving vendor

By Kevin Komiega

—Hewlett-Packard inked a deal this week to acquire database archiving specialist OuterBay Technologies in an effort to advance its information lifecycle management (ILM) offerings and bolster the capabilities of its Reference Information Storage System (RISS) content-addressed storage (CAS) system. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of ILM and storage software for HP's StorageWorks Division, says the acquisition of OuterBay will allow HP to expand its road map and strategy for ILM. "The acquisition affords us the opportunity to continue the ILM strategy that we embarked upon 18 months ago by moving from the ability to manage and retain unstructured and semi-structured data to include structured database data," says Harbist.

HP has been using OuterBay's Application Data Management (ADM) Suite since last September when the companies entered into a partnership. At that time, HP launched StorageWorks Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Database. RIM for Database uses OuterBay's software and ILM policies to archive Oracle and SAP databases.

Tools such as OuterBay's ADM identify inactive or rarely accessed data based on retention policies and activity histories. ADM automatically moves old data to less-expensive tiers of storage while maintaining its referential integrity for data retrieval purposes.

Harbist says HP can enhance OuterBay's technology by leveraging HP's relationships with Oracle, Microsoft, and other major vendors while continuing to support existing OuterBay customers and sticking to the company's product road map.

HP claims its database archiving business is growing at a rate of 50% annually and, with 60% of HP's Integrity server customers already running Oracle database applications, HP expects even more growth.

HP also has plans to integrate ADM with its CAS system. "We already have a road map for integrating OuterBay software into the RISS platform because we've been working with OuterBay for the past year," says Harbist.

Arun Taneja, founder and senior analyst with the Taneja Group consulting firm, says the HP-OuterBay acquisition represents the first time a large vendor is bringing together archiving technologies for all types of data.

"The worlds of unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data have been very distinct," says Taneja. "Some vendors focus on archiving for unstructured data like files and documents, some focus on semi-structured data like e-mails, and other vendors focus on archiving structured databases. But data is data to IT people. They don't want stovepipes."

Taneja says the next logical step is for HP to combine these archiving capabilities to run on the RISS platform, but he claims other vendors will not be far behind.

"HP made the first move, but it is fair to assume that there is not a single big company out there that is not thinking about this," says Taneja.

HP plans to retain almost all of OuterBay's 60 employees. OuterBay will be integrated into the StorageWorks division of HP's Technology Solutions Group once the acquisition is finalized.

This article was originally published on February 09, 2006